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From Fellini to Felliniesque: The Turning Point of ‘La Dolce Vita’

Here’s a video essay on why ‘La Dolce Vita’ represents a stylistic shift in the career of Federico Fellini.
La Dolce Vita
Criterion Collection
By  · Published on August 4th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores La Dolce Vita.

There was a shift in Federico Fellini‘s career in 1960. And that shift is called La Dolce Vita.

The film tells the episodic journey of an Italian gossip columnist scouring Rome for love. Surrounded by paparazzi and hedonistic excess, La Dolce Vita is simultaneously enchanted by and critical of glamour and superficiality. Post-war social change favored more extravagant tastes. And Fellini responded to these social changes with a change of his own: a departure from the raw, neo-realist authenticity towards a bolder, more poetic, and showy sensibility.

Many think of Italian neo-realism as the most influential movement in the history of film, a move towards a more honest depiction of reality, especially the realities of the poor, war-weary, and disenfranchised. Filming on-location and favoring non-professional actors, the movement represents a rejection of the sanitized glamour of commercial cinema. This is what makes La Doce Vita such a fascinating case study, a turning point in Fellini’s career away from grit towards the fantastical.

Watch “La Dolce Vita | Federico Fellini’s Stylish Cinematic Landmark“:

Who made this?

Leigh Singer wrote, narrated, and edited this video essay. It exists under the auspices of The Discarded Image, a video series created by Julian Palmer that deconstructs what else? Film. The series began with a deconstruction of how Steven Spielberg creates suspense with the beach scene in Jaws and has steadily grown from there. You can check out The Discarded Image’s video essays here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).